The White Opera

In a world that’s falling apart, Lillia Jane seeks to find the light. Dancing is her soul and passion, but it isn’t always the answer to her problems. She witnessed the murder of her best friend Sophie and won’t be forgetting the feeling of isolation any time soon. Lillia’s parents have moved to Queensland for the summer so now it’s just her and her older brother Brian, as they embark on an amazing adventure through Sydney Australia.

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26. The White Opera

 

My alarm goes off at full volume around 6:00 am. It’s the day of the White Opera in the Sydney Opera House. My costume arrived at midnight last night, I was nervous because I didn’t think it was coming. I try it on when I first wake up, it is a white tutu with lace over the chest and sleeves. It comes with white stockings and ballet shoes with long ribbons that tie half way up my leg.


 My mum comes from around the corner, rubbing her eyes and yawning. When she sees me she stops in her tracks, “Lillia you look beautiful!” and a tear actually appears in her eyes. I walk up to her and give her a big hug, “I love you mum.” I say this because I don’t say it enough.
“I love you too Lillia.” she runs her hands through my hair, making me feel safe and at home. She can give me the strength to perform in front of a couple of hundreds of people today.


I have the whole day to myself before I have to be there for my final rehearsals. Mum, dad, Brian, Tia, Lucas and Hannah will be in the audience somewhere watching me, this makes me feel stronger as well. 
Normally, I would get Brian to bring me some breakfast from downstairs, but today I decide to go down and get my own table. I go to the buffet and grab some pancakes and a bowl of fruit, I need to eat up so that I don’t faint on stage.


Hannah calls me while I’m in the middle of taking a bite out of a peach slice, “Hey Hann!”
“Lillia! I was just wondering if you wanted to come to the markets with me today before your big night! This is the last day I get to spend with you before you leave back to Adelaide.”
“Yeah sounds fun! I’ll meet you there in 20 minutes.” I hang up and quickly finish eating my breakfast. I grab my purse and tell dad where I am going, because he is the only person left in our hotel room.
I arrive to the markets soon later and instantly spot Hannah’s thick charcoal black hair in the crowd. I reach over to tap her on the shoulder, “Dad, this is a really bad time. I can’t go to him so he will have to come to me.” she sounds frustrated so I let my arm fall back by my side and decide to wait until she has finished her phone call.
Hannah puts her phone back into her handbag, “Hey Hann! What was that about?”
She sighs and embraces me, “Robert has just told our parents that he likes guys.” I raise one eyebrow, Robert is Hannah’s younger brother, Hannah, Sophie and I always knew he was gay but he was never open about it until now.
“That’s great! How did your parents take the news?”
“Great actually, I mean they were a little shocked at first but they got over it. Dad told Robert that he and mum would support his decisions and now he wants to see me. Do you mind if he shops with us?” she looks genuinely sorry for interrupting our last shopping experience together.
“It’s fine Hannah, really. I really want to see Robert again anyway.” Hannah smiles in gratitude.


Robert meets us near a honey stall, “Hey Lillia!” he looks shaken from telling his parents the news but happy all the same. I give him a hug, “It was really brave of you to tell them.” I remind him.
We all walk around the markets, looking at the different stalls and making fun of the clowns who can’t make animal balloons properly. Robert tells Hannah and I about his secret boyfriend named Patrick and how they met at his friend Charlie’s party. “Aww that’s so cute!” Hannah and I both say together.
When two hours pass I say, “Alright well I better get going.”
Robert and Hannah say their goodbyes and let me go, “I’ll see you tonight Lil!”

 

***

 

I drink a whole bottle of water and finish an apple, these fill me up for ballet. I slip on the tutu and tie up the ribbons from the shoes. Mum ties my hair up in a tight bun and I add a white ribbon for the final touch.
“Superb.” I turn my head to see whose voice it is. Lucas is standing in the doorway with a dozen white roses in this hands, “For you, my love.” he puts on a posh accent.
I laugh and repeat the accent, “Why thank you smitten.”
He crinkles up his nose, “Smitten? Really?” Mum leaves the room, knowing that she shouldn’t be here right now. Lucas puts the roses on a table and lifts me up, spinning me around and around, when I come down we kiss. It is sweet and short because this time, Tia comes into the room, “Time to go kids.”
I squeal silently, my nerves kicking in, I also feel a sense of adrenaline.


Tia drops me off so I can go to the Troye and get my name ticked off. My whole ballet group is sitting in a group, nervously anticipating the moment when we all appear on stage. When I join them I hear whispers and phrases like, “nervous”, “crowd”, “good luck” and even “Zhù hǎo yùn” from one of the Chinese dancers who was an exchange student. 


Troye approaches the group looking frantic and worried, “The solo dancer has rolled her ankle while practising for her piece.” this news makes the group gasp which actually sounds quite funny. I look around at everyone’s worried faces now and ask, “So what are we going to do now?”


Troye thinks for a moment and then a sudden clarification shows in his eyes, “Lillia you are going to dance the solo. You know the routine right?” Everyone knows the routine because our coach made the solo dancer Alex do it over and over again.


“Yeah I know the routine but I haven’t even practised it!” I begin to panic inside, if I do the solo then all eyes will be on me, if I mess it up then everyone will know because I will stand out like a sore thumb. At least Alex had a whole two weeks to practise and revise the steps and sequence.


“You just have to concentrate and try your hardest! If you make a mistake, don’t make it obvious, that way no one will know that you messed up.” he gives me a pat on the back, everyone is watching me with envy, I realise how important this part is and that these people would die for it. I have to try, for Sophie, for everyone I love.

We all pile on stage, everyone gets into first positon, looking elegant and strong at the same time. I feel powerful and in control now that I have wrapped my head around the idea of doing the solo part. I just imagine that I am a puppet and the puppeteer is pulling at my strings, making me move from one position to another.
I straighten my leg and point my toes, flex my arms and spread out my fingers. I lift my chin a little more and kick one leg up. All of the costumes are white, in fact, the whole stage has been turned into a white wonderland. A choir sings behind us, setting a tune for our feet to follow.


Two weeks ago, when I made the foolish mistake of raising my hand during rehearsals, I remember Alexander, our coach, telling me that The White Opera signifies emptiness. Although, the more I dance and take in my surroundings, I no longer feel as if The White Opera is empty, it is pure. White is the colour of purity, brightness, love, innocence and perfection.


I am not a bad person, no one is a bad person and God has never done anything to make me hate him. Depression seems like a silly thing now, why would I want to waste the rest of my life worrying about how people see me and what they think?


I am my own person, I am strong. I look into the crowd and find the people I love the most, all smiling at me. That is what truly matters, that you love, that you give and not receive, that is what happiness is.
The girls finish their routine which leaves me to do my solo. I close my eyes, like I always do when I dance. I imagine myself alone, back in Adelaide in the studio after Sophie’s death. Like my old coach suggested that day, I use those emotions and put them into the dance. I use soul and passion, because dancing is everything to me.
Five, six, seven, eight and I am done. I open my eyes and do a little curtsy. The whole room erupts in applause, cheers and the odd wolf whistle, people were even standing up in their seats for me. I grin and quickly run off stage, my toes still pointed.


Back stage, everyone claps for me and my group is coming up to me one by one to congratulate me. I am so flustered and confused, I didn’t think I did that well. A man comes up to me and shakes my hand, “Lillia Jane am I correct?” his voice is deep and official.
“Yes.”
“We would like to give you a 2 year contract for ballet, which means you would have to attend trainings once a week and compete twice a year internationally.” he is smiling down at me.
My parents sneak up behind me, “What’s this for?” they ask.
“This man is offering me a contract.” Both of them open their mouths and mum even manages a little sob, “Take it honey.” they tell me. The man hands me some papers to sign then he leaves, saying he will send us a letter with all of the details.


When I find Lucas I run up to him and hold him for as long as I can, “I got a contract.” I whisper into his ear.
“Congratulations Lillia!” he whispers back, and it is at this moment, in Lucas’ arms, that I truly feel at home.

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